Visiting the dentist is a fairly common phobia, an experience that many people find stressful. But these difficulties often pale in comparison to the anxiety a dentist appointment can cause an autistic child.
When a child has autism, it can be difficult to explain to them why the dentist is important. It's even harder to help them understand that they're safe and there's nothing to worry about. There are also several traits of autistic people that make the whole dentistry experience more unpleasant than it is for others.
Because of this, some parents are tempted to ignore their child's dentistry needs, as the appointments are just too stressful for everyone involved. This can cause serious health problems, so it's best to persevere and try different tactics. Here are some tips to help you and your child with dentist visits:
Recognise the child's particular difficulties
While children with autism often find dental check-ups difficult, it's the finer details behind their difficulties that can help you help them. For some autistic children, unusual physical sensations can seem extremely unpleasant, so having their mouth examined is bound to be upsetting. Harsh noises and bright lights are also frequently distressing to autistic people, and they're both common in dentists' examination rooms.
Once you begin to understand the specific things that upset your child, you can begin taking steps to address them.
Discuss things with the dentist
It might seem obvious that you should let your dentist know about your child's specific needs, but people sometimes forget about this important step. By discussing the situation in advance, you may be able to make special arrangements like minimising noise and physical contact or booking a longer appointment so there's no need to rush.
Take your child when you visit
Sometimes, it's the unknown that's frightening. If your child can see you having a routine dental check and how calm and stress-free it is, it can be immensely helpful to their understanding. Seeing first-hand what happens shows them exactly what to expect.
Give plenty of notice
It's a bad idea to spring any kind of potentially stressful experience on an autistic child. Let them know well in advance that it will be happening, and make sure you regularly talk it through with them so they can be mentally prepared.
Using distractions can be a highly effective way to calm any stressed child, so take along books, toys or anything else your child is interested in. This can really help take their mind off what's happening and ease them through the appointment.
Contact a children's dentistry office for more information and assistance.Share
24 October 2017
Hi! My name is Sarah, and as a busy professional, I understand the importance of making the most of my time. That includes everything from having productive working lunches to making the most of my dental checkups. I have created this blog to help you maximise your dental checkups. In these posts, you can learn how to prepare for your checkup, which questions to ask during your checkup and more. I am also going to have posts explaining why checkups are critical to your dental health as well as the health of your entire body. Happy reading, and thanks for visiting my blog!